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Archive for the ‘Social Studies’ Category

By Sunday January 20, a whirlwind of events that could aptly be described as a nightmarish mix of cultural conflict and media-based miscommunication and distortion began to be seen as “a fuller and more complicated picture … of the videotaped encounter between a Native American man and a throng of high school boys wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ gear outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.” (New York Times, Sarah Mervosh and Emily S. Rueb)  For interested educators, here is a link to a highly developed lesson plan related to intersections between social studies and media literacy that concerns this controversial current event: from PBS Newshour’s Daily Video – Lesson plan: Covington Catholic incident through a media literacy lens. For another piece on media literacy related to how news can be distorted or how actual video sources of news reporting can skew reactions to events, you can also consult the piece Media Literacy and the problem with the term “fake news,” with NAMLE executive director Michelle Ciulia Lipkin.  Finally, for perspectives on how this intense encounter became a viral moment, check out this podcast from The Daily, The Confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial

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In an earlier post, mediateacher.net highlighted the New York Times teaching resource “Film Club.” There are many great shorts that they post along with discussion points and lesson plans, such as the recent post, Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible

For Media Literacy or Social Studies teachers, here is another exceptional new series of short videos that can be used as resources for debate of current events and  contemporary intersections of media, politics, and propaganda: Operation Infektion. These docs explore the longstanding practices of disinformation campaigns by Soviet and Russian secret services (such as the KGB) that have evolved over several decades and whose impacts appear to be quite substantial in America and many countries.  Below are links to the video series and an article by director and writer Adam Ellick.

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With more exciting news in our Resources category (such as the Prelinger Archives and Portraits of America posts this year), the Library of Congress has announced that the National Screening Room is now online and features extensive resources for media literacy education.  Many items from this vital national archive are now accessible to the general public and classrooms across the country (and world).  As noted in an article by CBS News, among its highlights are: the classic Edwin S. Porter short The Great Train Robbery (featured for study in Chapter 2), the 1953 feature The Hitch-Hiker by Ida Lupino (a prime director for study with Chapter 5), and a wide variety of diverse types of media such as advertisements, PSAs, and home movies that are discussed in such posts as What Exactly is that Movie? on mediateacher.net and in our investigations of motion picture language and screenwriting throughout Moving Images. 

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Here is a superb resource for media literacy courses: the “Film Club” Learning Network offered by The New York Times. From this site, you can find short documentary films, most under 10 minutes, and related discussion questions.

And here is a Reader Idea resource created by English teacher Michael Kellen that features lessons with the shorts Girl Boxer and Arctic Boyhood

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This year, Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation has added a new initiative to its The Story of Movies educational program: Portraits of America: Democracy on Film.  This eight-section curriculum was developed by the Film Foundation in partnership with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and with support from the Library of Congress.  Its modules include such themes as The Immigrant Experience, The American Laborer, The American Woman, and Politicians and Demagogues. Here are articles on the initiative from Indie Wire and Market Watch.

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As we wind down the school year, teachers in a variety of disciplines — particularly social studies and media literacy — might be trying to wrestle with the conflicting images of the President of the United States engaging in talks with the Supreme Leader of North Korea. Of particular interest to educators who deal with moviemaking and media messages was the rather unique video created to deliver a message of the American administration’s intentions to Kim Jong-un and his government.  Here are some useful resources and commentary on the sort of trailer/PSA created by the current American administration: a journalistic media-based commentary about “Trump’s Video Pitch to Kim,” the actual video as posted by the Wall Street Journal, and coverage of the event by a reporter for the Washington Post. 

And the question — or challenge — to ask of one’s students is certainly, “do you think you could do better?”

For those interested in other topics related to media literacy and social studies, there are a number of posts on mediateacher.net, including: Language and Literacy: Case 1 – “Fake” News and Language and Literacy: Case 2 – The Troll

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Still from Charles Burnett’s classic Killer of Sheep

For Black History Month, film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott of the New York Times have compiled an interactive list of culturally, artistically, and historically important motion pictures.  This resource is quite valuable and can also serve as a springboard for interesting discussion.  Along with the movies they have chosen — one per day for the month of February — there are many others noted in their comments and footnotes.  Many directors and other figures from film history who are featured in Moving Images, such as Oscar Micheaux, Spike Lee, and Charles Burnett, are highlighted among the selections.

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